Kyoto Cultural Foundation Tour
Day 1 – Japanese Calligraphy Experience and Interaction with Maiko
Start the day with The Museum of Kyoto. Opened in 1988 as a comprehensive cultural facility that introduces Kyoto’s history and culture in an easy-to-understand manner. The museum itself is a piece of art: the main building was formerly the Kyoto branch of the bank of Japan.
The museum hosts an impressive collection of poems and famous calligraphies. A good introduction for this afternoon’s rare calligraphy experience.
For lunch, you will head to one of the best Edo-style sushi restaurants in the city. More than just lunch, watching the Chef as he delicately pressed the fish on the warm rice is a show in itself.
The next stop is the Kiyomizudera temple. It is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The main hall, which together with the stage was built without the use of nails.
Through a special arrangement, you will have a true calligraphy experience with a monk. This very dynamic experience will include a giant brush and Japanese paper. Write your favorite words, relax your mind and let your inner artist express himself.
After the calligraphy experience, you will continue your exploration with the Ninnenzaka slope. The lower slopes of Kyoto’s eastern mountains are one of the city’s best-preserved historic districts. The beautiful streets lead to Gion district where you stop at a Kyoto style town-house and enjoy a fine Kaiseki dinner in the company of Maiko ( apprentice Geisha) and Geisha.
After an exciting dinner and Maiko performance, Check-in at your accommodation. Sowaka is a small luxury hotel but started as a restaurant during the Taisho through Showa era. This luxury inn offers what the guests prefer the most, be flexible for you and use the materials made in Kyoto. Natural mineral water pumped from the basement of the site is used for the cuisine and in the guests’ room.
Sowaka means “happiness” or “well-being” in the Sanskrit language. It is a word of blessing, often spoken at the end of the Buddhist sutras that echo through the innumerable temples of Kyoto. Once across the stone threshold, you are instantly transported to an oasis of calm. Relax in one of Sowaka’s 23 individually designed rooms, listening to the gentle breezes blow through the green and tranquil courtyard.
Night in Sowaka
Inclusions: Accommodations, Lunch, Dinner, Private Guide, Private Car and Fees.
Day 2 – Relaxing Arashiyama Exploring Day
9:00, today’s first stop is Nishiki Market, which is a narrow, five-block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food-related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware.
Next, you will head to the unavoidable and majestic Kinkakuji temple. This Zen Temple situated in northern Kyoto is famous for its golden top floors. Don’t miss the garden, designed as a “paradise garden” in which to stroll and meditate.
Before leaving the temple, enjoy a cup of green tea and Japanese red bean pastry at a tea house.
For today’s lunch, you will be taken to a Sukiyaki restaurant built in an old Kyomachi-ya style house (Kyoto- style townhouse). The building itself is a landmark in the neighborhood, but it is the quality beef served here that make it a must-try restaurant.
The beef served is from Kuroge-Wagyu cows raised in nature and handpicked to stringent standards. The rich flavors of the finely-marbled beef, prepared in various ways such as Sukiyaki, Mizutaki and Oil-yaki, is a truly enjoyable culinary experience.
After lunch, you will continue to Arashiyama, which is a pleasant district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period, 794-1185 when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. Enjoy your private rickshaw driver who cheerfully talks to you while showing you around Arashiyama district and the history of the area. You can also choose the authentic boat ride on the Hozu River, which takes you to the great nature of the Arashiyama district.
After the experience, you will transfer back to the city of Kyoto and end the tour.
Inclusions: Breakfast, Lunch, Private Guide, Private Car and Fees.